Overseas aid and assistance to the Third World

Overseas aid and assistance to the Third World

Friday, March 12, 2021 11:35 am

Dr. J.G Nkem Onyekpe


By JGN Onyekpe

The less developed countries seek financial aid and technical assistance, to deal with the problem of economic development.
Financial aid to the LDCs get to them in the form of grants, donations, loans, etc, while technical assistance is in the form of training, provision of manpower, pre-investment surveys, feasibility studies and reports, etc.
Aid is either bilateral or multilateral. Financial aid to the LDCs get to them in trickles. The amount is usually inadequate or insignificant, given the enormity of the challenges of economic and social development. Each of the LDCs gets but a little because of the large number of the countries in need.

Some LDCs have taken advantage of aid and assistance to develop their institutions, build infrastructure, and achieve some level of economic reform. This is true of the LDCs with patriotic and well- focused political elite, as in southeast Asia. But many LDCs have had the unfortunate experience of diversion and misappropriation of funds received as development aid.

Let’s consider the following facts about aid and assistance.
1. They are concentrated in primary production to ensure steady supply of industrial raw materials to the donor states.
2. Used to hire personnel from the donor states, expensive personnel and consultants.
3. Used to settle import bills for industrial goods and machine tools from the donor countries.
4. Aid also comes in the form of provision of military equipment and training. In the 1970s-80s, this enabled the comprador military dictatorships in Africa and Latin America to maintain and sustain their grips on the neo-colonial states and economies that proliferated in both continents.

5. Technical assistance and training are limited to administration and management; technology and engineering are often left out.
6. Feasibilíty studies are never objective as they do not support bold and courageous programmes and proposals that are focused on genuine economic liberation and and self-reliance.
7. There is no evidence of aid and assistance towards industrialisation. On the contrary, there’s always a hostile stand against the industrialisation of the LDCs, as industrialisation would set them free from their dependent status in the global economic system.

8. Generally, only “friendly” states benefit from overseas development aid and assistance, i.e, states on the path of dependent capitalist development and accumulation, and those not willing to threaten the interest of foreign capital. All through the 1960s-80s, the US Congress legislated against provision of aid and assistance to “unfriendly” states, usually states of socialist orientation.
9. Not only are “unfriendly” states denied aid and assistance, more patriotic leaders of the LDCs on the path to genuine liberation are usually overthrown or assassinated. Examples, Armical Cabral (Guinea Bissau), Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique), Patrice Lumumba (Congo), Jacobo Arbenz (Guatamela), Kwame Nkrumah ( Ghana), Salvador Allende (Chile), Thomas Sankara ( Boukina Fasso), Murtala Mohammed ( Nigeria).

10. The experience of the LDCs has demonstrated that loans and the difficult conditions or conditionalities attached to them have been the undoing of the recipient states. High interest rates and the requirements to embark on privatisation of the economy and commercialisation of social services, wage freeze, embargo on employment, devaluation of national currency, etc, etc , have all amounted to the practical negation of development qua development.

11. The point, then, is that there is no free aid or disinterested assistance. Aid and assistance are instruments of foreign economic and ideological control and manipulation. Consequently, the political elites of the LDCs should rapidly decolonise their mentalities, who think that nothing meaningful is achievable in their countries without overseas aid and assistance. The LDCs have all the potential. All that is needed is a national patriotic and popular democratic front in each LDC with a clear focus against imperialism and its juggernauts and local comprador allies.

-JGN Onyekpe, PhD, FHSN.

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